Washington Post — By Josh Hicks August 18, 2017 at 3:00 AM
Workers dismantled a 145-year-old statue of Supreme Court Justice Roger B. Taney outside the Maryland State House shortly after midnight Friday, the latest ripple effect from last weekend’s deadly violence at a rally of white supremacists in Charlottesville.
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) said his revulsion at what happened in Charlottesville — at a demonstration purportedly in defense of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee — prompted him to change his mind about the Taney statute and push for its removal, an act long sought by civil rights groups.
The State House Trust board voted Wednesday to remove the memorial to Taney, a former chief justice who defended slavery in the court’s 1857 Dred Scott decision. Taney’s ruling said blacks, whether slaves or not, could never be U.S. citizens.
Police blocked off the streets around the State House complex Thursday evening. A crane and two flatbed trucks arrived shortly after midnight, and a crew soon began the process of removing the memorial from its base, with more than two dozen bystanders looking on, mostly local residents who figured the road closure must have been a sign that the monument would be coming down soon.
Some witnesses commented that Taney’s likeness, gazing slightly down, appeared to be bowing its head in shame as workers pulled straps around his frame.
“It’s just a bad statue overall,” said Robb Tufts, 43, of Annapolis. “He’s all hunched over like Ebenezer Scrooge . . . we deserve to celebrate the heroes of Maryland, not the villains of history.”
As the crane’s arm started extending toward the monument shortly after 1 a.m., sprinklers erupted on the State House lawn, sending crew members scrambling and briefly disrupting their work, as though Taney was making a last stand atop his perch.
After work resumed, the crane lifted the statue and maneuvered it to a flatbed truck, where the memorial was wrapped in a tarp and driven away around 2:20 a.m.
Hogan’s spokesman, Doug Mayer, said the monument would be placed in an undisclosed state storage facility. The perch remained on the lawn, covered by a wooden box.
Article link: https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/md-politics/md-senate-president-slams-hogan-for-fast-vote-to-remove-taney-statue/2017/08/17/41833b12-8390-11e7-ab27-1a21a8e006ab_story.html?utm_term=.3b7205357f8a